Parenthood is like Bipolar, but before we get into the whole “I-can’t-believe-you-would-use-such-a-serious-condition-so-passively” debate, let me explain…
Parenthood isn’t “great” – it’s agonising! It’s feelings of anxiety, stress, uncertainty, guilt, anger, frustration and often, sadness all rolled into one.
But then it can be bearable, almost “great” with feelings of happiness, satisfaction, pride and a little voice that says “sure, I can do this!” (and these feelings are fleeting with every passing moment by the way).
Expectations well and truly fell short when I fantasised about what kind of parent I would be (and I would be awesome!) because as the days go on, I see myself more and more like my mother, each and every day… and that is terrifying!
So, it’s silly things really but my husband and I found ourselves sitting in our clutter-filled-with-kids-toys-nappies-and-miscellaneous “visitor room” imagining our life when it finally gets back to “normal” (whatever normal is). We thought and debated about the age, we believe, kids can look after themselves (14, 15… definitely 16) and we spoke of all the things we would do when we finally had our freedom again.
It made me nervously laugh – they say time is precious and here we were wishing our children’s lives’ away when they’ve not even started school!
Don’t get me wrong, I do treasure time with them when they are happy and content and not screaming, crying or pushing the buttons but 11pm can’t come far enough because that is the only time we get 10 minutes to gulp down a coffee ready for the night feeds.
The worrying thing is, I don’t ever recall the warning in advance? You know, “beware kids make you crazy… no really, they do! Please don’t! Beware! BEWARE!” and if I did, it would have came with the robot baby experiment at school that my parents point-blank refused to allow me to participate in (at the time I thought “fun-sucker” but with hindsight, is it no wonder they didn’t want a crying robot back in the house reminding them of all the sleepless nights they had already sacrificed… and man they looked as old as I do now… and that’s old!).
So I never got the chance to realise how much it sucked being a parent and I’m learning the hard way today.
I’ve found myself repeat those fun-sucking statements my own parents used to say which mostly consisted of “no”. The majority of my personal vocabulary is “No” or “Get to your bed!” or “shut up, you are driving me crazy” (“fuck off” to be honest…).
And what’s more testing is the fact they can calculate and plan an attack – yes children, well my 3-year-old anyway. He’s a master at being an arsehole. He whines and cries to get the sympathy vote. He smiles and laughs at exactly the right time to be rewarded. He also likes to tell me “no” when I ask him through deep breaths to “please tidy up your toys”. He tells me off for cursing, he corrects me for my slang dialect and he often reminds me that nothing said or done is ever kept private (including my bowel movement).
Parenthood is like Bipolar – when it’s good, they’re sleeping and when it’s bad, it’s reeeeallly bad (like pull-my-hair-out-and-poke-my-eyes, bad).
Now, I love my kids, I love the bones of them, but I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking that parenthood is flawless, is perfect, is amazing. It’s not. It’s mostly awful because you are constantly nagging, constantly worrying and constantly shouting and feeling guilty for shouting.
So, be warned!